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Early Reports Indicate 920,000 Pay Per View Orders for UFC 114

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Dave Meltzer reports (subscription required, and honestly I can't recommend it enough):

The earliest cable estimate is 925,000 buys, which would make it the fourth highest number in UFC history. Any estimate this early is a very rough estimate, and the real number could end up significantly higher or lower. Based on that number, it would trail the 1.6 million for UFC 100 and the 1.05 million for the 2006 Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz fight, and right at 1 million for UFC 92 (a triple main event of Evans vs. Forrest Griffin, Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva). It would be in the same range as UFC 91, with Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture, and UFC 94, with the second Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn match. Both of those shows were really one match drawing shows.

...Most impressive is that it was a one-match show as far as marquee value. Had Griffin not pulled out of his fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, adding Griffin, one of the company's top draws, would have probably pushed it past the 1 million mark. Without him, I thought it would fall a little short.

Before the show, Dana White's prediction was 850,000. He claimed it was based on advanced orders that other details that usually give the company a pretty good idea how the show will do. That would rank it No. 6 or No. 7 on the company's all-time list. The record going into this show for a non-title match main event would have been 775,000 for the Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz grudge match in 2006 (technically that show had a Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski heavyweight title match billed as the main event). For a show that didn't have a title match of any kind, no UFC event historically has topped 600,000 buys (Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes in 2006), so if nothing else, this blew away that record, probably by a wide margin.

Evans got $410,000 of disclosed money, but with his PPV bonus, should get well into the seven figures. Jackson got $250,000 disclosed. He has a PPV bonus written into his contract. If the show did 800,000 buys, and it probably did more, Jackson will end up with a figure probably around $2 million.

This comes on the heels of the news (via MMA Weekly, HT MMA Mania) that Spike TV's "UFC Prelims Live" for UFC 114 drew 1.6 million viewers. That's up over 30% from the UFC 111prelims twhich drew a series low 1.2 million viewers.

Mania adds:

The viewership was the second highest total for a "UFC Prelims Live" show since the series premiered before UFC 103: "Fraklin vs. Belfort" last September. The prelims for UFC 109: "Relentless" drew 1.7 million viewers.

Clearly the UFC has weathered their winter of discontent and it's now on the verge of being made glorious summer by Rampage vs Rashad followed up by Brock Lesnar's return at UFC 116 against Shane Carwin. After a long string of weak events from UFC 103 to UFC 109, they are finally kicking back into high gear.

It's notable that the Light Heavyweight title fight held only two weeks early did about half this much business. Clearly the American fan base prefers to see two American fighters in the headliner rather than two Brazilians, even if one of those Brazilians has the belt. 

Recognizing that fact, Zuffa did considerably more marketing for UFC 114 than they did for UFC 113.